Monday, November 01, 2010

Amiens

My report last left you with our visit to the museum at Waterloo.  Before we left the town we had lunch there but were not particularly impressed with Belgian cuisine which, in a French-speaking restaurant turned out to be rather mediocre.

We had a good laugh, though, at a couple of misunderstandings we had with the waiter.  Olly ordered a religieuse for dessert.  The waiter fixed him a funny smile and tilted his head and said, "And just what do you call a religieuse?"  (After Olly described it, he said they called it a Choux à la crème—which it is, of course.  Sigh.)

It just occurred to me non-francophone visitors may not get the point here unless I show you what I'm talking about.  Here's a photo I pinched off another blog I found while googling a picture for you.  Behold a religieuse:


Next came Becky who decided on a Fondue au fromage for her main dish.  Instead of the expected delight she was amazed to find a couple of little pasty pastry balls which had a vague overtone of cheese (if you were looking for it, says Becky).  It was no use trying to explain to the waiter what we call a fondue this side of the border . . . .

Next stop was Amiens, just a couple of hours away.  As always, we headed off here with a clue as to what we would find—and we weren't disappointed!  The town turned out to be rich in culture and things to see.  How good it felt to be out of The Netherlands, through Belgium, and home!  (The road system in Belgium is disgraceful; we had expected far better!)

After finding a place to park we set out to explore and found we were right next to the ruins of a convent that had been built  in the 11th century for the Grey Sisters.  We were struck, once again, that so many wonderful old buildings were destroyed during the Second World War—not by the German occupiers but "friendly fire" from Allied bombers.  Anyway, this was almost completely demolished and now only the outer cloister remains which we visited.


We spent quite some time walking around the down-town area and reading all the informative signs everywhere (the city Belfry, the Cathedral, as well as a wall plaque commemorating the Peace of Amiens, which I vaguely recalled from my high school history class).


But the most fun we had was exploring the house where Jules Verne lived and which is now a bookshop (as you might expect) and a museum, each floor dedicated to displays and characters from his novels.  It was exceedingly well done and we could have spent a lot more time there than we did.


The mural on the side wall outside well reflects the fantasy world inside:


After lunch we continued our pleasant visit of the canal and decided to overnight there in a Première Class hotel (39€ for a room for three!) ready to head home in the morning.

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fun adventure. The dessert looks delicious - what does the name mean in English (if translatable)? Sounds like something religious...ha ha.

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  2. Well, a religieuse is a nun, in English and I suppose the pastry takes its name from the approximate look of the thing. It is basically just a puff pastry with the top lopped off and filled with cream and coated in chocolate.

    So you're right, it does sound religious, doesn't it? It is also delicious!

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